Modifications to a Thornton Windlass
Copyright 2012 by James
To make a Thornton Windlass more versatile, the following
modifications were done.
An oddity of the Thornton Windlass has always been
how it was to be attached to things using a small square of cloth
and safety pins. The goal with this project was to make a Thornton
Windlass a more useable tool for a working pro.
A copper backing
plate was fabricated.
As was done on my Thornton Windlass once owned by Al
DeLage, a small spring was soldered onto the reel body to cushion
the stopping of the reel. This spring is mounted at a tangent
to the internal drum to prevent thread wear. This spring will
help avoid thread breakage and internal reel damage. Letting the
thread free fly back into the reel can break the reel - especially
Notice the three connecting loops. I wanted to mount
the Thornton to this back plate without damaging the original
reel in case an "undo" might be desired in the future.
This is how the plate fits the back of the Thornton
The belt loops
were bent to allow clearance.
Here is the plate in the final position.
Wire was threaded
through the reel loops.
The completed wire threading looked like this.
The wire was covered
The completed modifications will allow the Thornton
Windlass to be worn on a belt on either the right or left side
of the performer's body.
The front view.
The back view.